INCREASING levels of homelessness in Barnsley will be tackled head-on thanks to a new scheme which will intervene before people find themselves on the streets - with shelters set to be purchased by the council.

Accommodation - effectively acting as half-way houses - are being sought, while a housing management team will also be recruited under plans which are set to be discussed by ruling cabinet members on Wednesday.

Locally, the most at-risk group are males in the 25 to 44 age bracket, although more families are also requiring support, according to a report.

To support the agenda in Barnsley, a homeless alliance was established to provide more help to people at risk earlier on, working closely with the most vulnerable groups and reduce the use of temporary accommodation and instead use local housing options available.

Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central and Mayor of Sheffield City Region, said: “We must all take collective responsibility for providing practical support to those who find themselves sleeping rough or begging on the streets.

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“Volunteering time, donating goods or simply stopping to make sure someone knows about the help available in Barnsley will make a real difference.

“I am committed to tackling homelessness and rough-sleeping across our region. The fact that anyone in the 21st century has to sleep rough is an absolute disgrace.”

Rocketing levels of cases have been noted by The Rough Sleepers Project, a nightly outreach service whose members connect homeless people with the help available.

Leaders revealed they have seen the number of cases ‘grow significantly’.

A statement said: “It is crucial in such times where budgets are reducing, and demand for specialist services are increasing, that we work together and pool our resources to ensure people in our communities get the right support, at the right time.

“No single organisation can solve homelessness alone, we must all proactively work together to intervene earlier and prevent it happening.

“Homelessness can be caused by many factors some structural such as lack of affordable housing supply, welfare reforms, insecure or no employment, raising cost of living and some causes are personal such as relationship breakdown, domestic violence, substance misuse or health issues.”

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic - which took hold last March - is also said to be a reason why more people are becoming homeless due to losing their jobs.

Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock added: “People being left to sleep rough without a roof over their heads should shame us all, and the increase in those who have tragically died on our streets shows this is a national emergency.

“After falling under the last Labour government, homelessness is skyrocketing as the Conservatives have spent the best part of a decade slashing vital support services like housing benefit and funding for homelessness facilities.

“Instead of removing the vital safety nets some of the most vulnerable people in our communities rely on, this callous government should immediately address this homelessness crisis and end this national shame.”

* If you have concerns about rough sleeping in Barnsley, call 773870, freephone 0300 3031 990, or adviceservices@barnsley.gov.uk.